Alumni & Friends

Dear Alumni and Friends,

As I begin my fourth year as chair, I am pleased to report that the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is on a tear. In the 2007-08 academic year we graduated 77 majors (including 20 B.A., 45 B.S., 12 M.S.). This represents a significant increase over our previous record of 59 in 2005-06. Moreover, a recent report verified that the department currently boasts more than 190 undergraduate majors (a 10 percent increase over last year) and more than 50 graduate students. These data clearly establish our program as one of the most productive in the country.

This success is a direct result of the great work of our faculty and staff, whose dedication to students and to outstanding research make “doing science” a vital and exciting experience. Last year our faculty served as chairs for 52 honors and graduate defenses and advised more than 80 students in DIS, honors or masters research. They also published 29 refereed articles with 23 student co-authors and made 35 presentations involving 26 students at national and regional meetings.
Our success in chemistry instruction has not gone unnoticed by the funding agencies. This past year, the department received nearly $2M in additional research funding, including $700,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to purchase a 600 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer (NMR) through their Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program. This state-of-the-art instrument will dramatically increase our research capabilities and provide students with experience with state-of-the- art equipment. The program officer from NSF indicated that the review committee was particularly impressed with the quality of proposed research and the involvement of large numbers of undergraduates in the research projects. Thanks to funding from the Division of Academic Affairs, the department will be hiring a full-time technician to run both our high resolution mass spectrometer and the new NMR.

Finally, I’m pleased to report that our unique graduate program in distance education has exceeded our expectations, growing faster than originally predicted. Currently, we have 39 enrolled in the program including 17 who will begin in the fall. Nine fully online graduate courses have been developed and taught to date, including three core courses (Advanced Organic Chemistry, Advanced Biochemistry and Advanced Physical Chemistry) and specialized offerings in both Heterocyclic and Medicinal Chemistry. Feedback from the distance learning students has been overwhelmingly positive. If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree online, or in taking one or two graduate courses, you can consult the Web site where the program is described at or contact John Tyrell ( for further information.

A complete list of "faculty doings" and of our generous scholarship donors and the students who received them, see our Fall 2012 Newsletter.

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